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Guest blog: Venture outdoors and volunteer

Written by Fiona August 20 2013

My guest blogger says: If you love the outdoors – and want to make a difference to the lives of others or the environment – why you not become an adventurous volunteer? There are plenty of charitable organisations and schemes for intrepid explorers, nature lover and adrenaline junkie (or all of the above) – and the beauty of volunteering is that you can still enjoy the great outdoors and get your weekly dose of adventure while giving something back to the community at the same time.


Here are just a few ideas to inspire both your altruistic and adventurous spirit – and get you thinking about a fresh challenge.

Green fingers and helping hands

imgres-28If you like to be at one with nature, you can volunteer at a public park, nature reserve or national park. There are opportunities to do your bit for the environment and reduce your carbon footprint through outdoor conservation work in your nearest national park.

If you’re a budding horticulturists, you can donate your time to a local park or community garden. Here you can plant, weed and prune to ensure your community has a space where children can play, and families and friends can enjoy picnics.

Adventurous Training with the Army Cadet Force

If you spend your weekends mountaineering, canoeing and camping, chances are there’s a group of cadets and adult volunteers from a local Army Cadet Force doing the same thing over the brow of the next hill.

TrekkingThe Army Cadet Force is a charitable youth organisation, offering adventurous training to help young people achieve their potential. From the Scottish Highlands to the Devonshire Coast, there are volunteering opportunities far and wide with nearly 2000 local detachments around the UK. Detachments meet on a weekly basis and you only have to commit to 2 nights a week. Anyone over the age of 18 can become an adult volunteer and the ACF attracts people from all walks of life – all you need is energy, enthusiasm and an interest in helping young people. Any experience of expeditions and the great outdoors is a bonus (but not a must-have).

Volunteering with the Army Cadet Force has benefits for everyone involved. You’ll be inspiring a thirst for adventure and a passion for the great outdoors in the next generation (who, despite the media hype, aren’t all sat indoors playing video games). And it’s not just the teenagers that learn – from leadership to fieldcraft, you can gain new skills and experiences whilst continue doing all the activities you love.

Wildlife and animal welfare

If you consider animals to be a safer species than teenagers, animal rescue centres and wildlife trusts are always looking for volunteers to help with day-to-day duties.

There are opportunities to get amidst the undergrowth and explore woodlands and wildernesses with your nearest wildlife trust, where you can get involved with schemes to guarantee the future of native species and habitats.

You could find yourself surveying flora and fauna, or unleashing your inner ornithologist with some birdwatching.

Animal sanctuaries and rescue centres also welcome volunteers if you prefer four-legged friends to creepy crawlies. Weekends could involve you giving time to walking rescue dogs, socialising cats or grooming horses and mucking out stables.

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